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‘Push’ starts with real challenge

Shoppers know that pushing a grocery cart in a snowy parking lot isn’t easy.

Pushing a cart on the shoulder of Hwy 2 in the blowing snow is likewise a challenge, said Joe Roberts, who was on the highway between Blackfalds and Red Deer on Thursday morning.

“I think we’re pushing it a little bit today in this weather.

“That’s why we’re cutting it short,” said Roberts who is getting some winter practice for his 14-month cross-country Push for Change trek that starts in May in St. John’s, N.L.

He counted nine vehicles in the ditch between Blackfalds and the 67th Street exit into Red Deer.

“It’s a tough day today,” Roberts said about the snow-packed and slippery highway.

Roberts, 46, of Vancouver, left Edmonton on Saturday and is heading for Airdrie.

Push for Change is raising money for kids at risk and has partnered with Free the Children to support programs for school children across Canada.

Roberts, a former street kid who went on to become a successful multimedia businessman, said he wants to inspire troubled kids.

“I understand intuitively why some kids get stuck. These kids have the ability to go and be successful and do extraordinary things with their lives, but because of the emotional build-up, they don’t take action.”

In August 2012, Roberts pushed his cart, a modified jogging stroller, from Calgary to Vancouver.

Push for Change decided travelling down Hwy 2 from Edmonton to Calgary in January was the best way to train in the winter.

“We want get a feel for the worst weather we could encounter,” Roberts said.

On Sunday, Roberts hit his first snowstorm about 30 km south of Leduc.

“It was a two-hour storm and it was enough for us to pack it in. We want to make the paper, but not that way,” he said with a laugh.

Roberts said crossing Canada continues to be a popular way to raise awareness and money because travelling a single road, stretching from one end of country to the other, connects people to 85 per cent of the population.

“What’s unique about us is the shopping cart and the story of redemption and transformation.”

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